How to be More Successful by Using Brand Archetypes

By Chuck Pettis

Chuck Pettis
Nov 25, 2017 · 3 min read

After helping build big brands for 40 years, now I want to give back and share secrets learned along the way.

In the “old days,” we used to try and discover a brand’s personality by asking what car or animal represented the brand.

Today, we use psychology to find the best brand personality using archetypes.

Brand archetypes naturally establish meaning and relevance at a subconscious level and are authentic, genuine, compelling, credible, universal, and deeply moving, i.e., super effective.

Great movies are all based on archetypal characters.

Luke Skywalker, the hero…

…and Darth Vader, the Outlaw.

How do you discover your brand’s archetype?

First, get the book, The Hero and the Outlaw, by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson. I have a degree in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University. I went through all the Jungian archetypes and Margaret and Carol did a great job of profiling 12 archetypes that really work.

I added a thirteenth brand archetype: The Disciplined Achiever, based on the values of eleven elite companies that beat the stock market, as studied by Jim Collins in the book, Good to Great.

Use these resources to discover your brand’s archetype.

For clients of my brand consulting company, Brand-Solutions, I developed a brand archetype indicator test with 91 values, ethics and behaviors that are the attributes of the 13 brand archetypes.

Your brand’s archetype gives you a guideline for how the brand should act.

It provides your brand a human identity, a persona, a face, and a brand personality to guide copy and the choice of emotional imagery.

For example, Apple is a Creator brand archetype. Research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of Waterloo, Canada shows that even a brief exposure to the Apple logo can make people more creative. Now, that’s a powerful brand!

Let’s say you are an Explorer-Creator brand archetype. Then you would use words like: create, make, build, explore, discover, check out, find your next project, turn your dreams into reality, experiment, take risks, innovate, etc.

And you might show images of your target audiences being creative, experimenting, and innovating.

To connect with Chuck Pettis, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, or check him out on LinkedIn.


BrandSolutions helps entrepreneurs build strong brands.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store